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The Globe and Mail

Toronto’s Santa Claus parade getting new floats and special guests for 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus chat in the wings while waiting to be introduced. The media were invited to the Toronto warehouse on Nov. 2, 2012 where the floats for the 108th Santa Claus Parade are being prepared for Nov. 18th, 2012.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

There will be some new treats in store for those who take in this year's Santa Claus parade in Toronto.

The annual procession is promising a number of fresh features, including a replica of the Grey Cup that stands four metres high. The Grey Cup float, which was co-designed by the Canadian Football League to celebrate the championship's 100th anniversary, will have former Toronto Argonauts football player Michael "Pinball" Clemons on board.

Other new creations include a One Direction-themed float celebrating the popular British boy band and a Little Planet Karting float, modelled after the popular video game Little Big Planet.

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The parade also welcomes back Mrs. Claus, who made her first appearance last year. In a new offering, children of all ages can enter an online contest to fill four empty spots on Mrs. Claus' float.

Priyanka Bhavsar, 8, has never seen the parade in person. She always watched the festivities on television, but this year, she will don a teddy bear costume and ride on the Sears Canada Wish Book float.

"I'm so excited because there are going to be so many people there," she said at the parade media preview day Friday. "And I can't wait to be on TV."

Parade director Barry Hillier said city residents will still be able to track the progress of the parade using an iPhone app developed last year. He added that the parade committee hopes to expand the app to other mobile platforms by next year.

The committee has also expanded the parade's social media presence by developing an online donation program which allows for a child's name to be displayed on certain floats with a donation of $100.

Toronto's Santa Claus parade takes to the streets Nov. 18.

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